Each year, thousands of British Columbia students enrol in classes at post-secondary institutions all over the province with programs ranging from trades and technology training to bio-medical engineering and research.
To help pay for their education, many will choose to access some form of financial assistance: scholarships, bursaries, help from family or parents, or a government-sponsored student loan.
In addition to paying the interest on students’ loans until they’ve finished school, taxpayers also help through the province’s loan-reduction and loan-forgiveness programs. These two programs are designed to help students who finish their studies by reducing or forgiving their loans and making it easier for graduates to get out of debt faster.
The loan-reduction program offers a financial incentive for students to complete their studies, with reductions automatically applied to their loans. Last year, approximately 21,000 B.C. students were able to benefit from $38.5 million in loan reductions.
These benefits multiply when students choose in-demand, skilled professions, such as nurse, nurse practitioner, midwife or occupational therapist, and agree to work in under-served communities for up to three years. In this situation, B.C.’s loan forgiveness program will forgive 33 per cent of their student loans each year they work in the community.
More than 300 B.C. students received $2 million through the BC Loan Forgiveness program last year.